Updated: Jan 3
Written by: Evan Goodfellow
In order to stand out from the plethora of companies and products, companies are beginning to put social issues front and center with their products in the background as a way to attract customers.
Campaigns we Care About
In a recent article entitled Brands with Purpose: The Role of Insight in Creating Campaigns we Really Care About by Emma Muckersie, the author writes how brand marketing is starting to shift. In the past, companies would place the product at the center of the campaign, but now they are starting to place causes front and center and the product in the background. By causes, we mean tackling some injustice that exists in the world. Muckersie states that “in these campaigns, insight plays a central role.” Whether it be a marketing campaign, or gathering information regarding creating a new product or service or measuring a current product or service, online communities can be a crucial way to ensure that a business is not guessing about what its customers want.
The article uses the brand, Always, as a prime example of attempting to tackle a cause that their customers can deeply relate to. Last year Always created a brand campaign entitled ‘Our Epic Battle: Like a Girl’ which sought to tackle gender stereotypes with the goal to boost girls confidence during their all-important teenage years. But why focus on confidence levels in early teens? They chose this battle because they found that over 50% of women said they experienced a decline in confidence during puberty. By finding out the struggle faced with their clientele, they are creating a campaign which their customers have experienced and identify with, and by helping the younger generation, they gain the support of customers.
Like A Girl Campaign
Muckersie explores how Always has set forth to expand their campaign. The first commercial in the Always campaign put the spotlight on the phrase, ‘Like a Girl.’ The advertisement looked at how the term ‘Like a Girl’ came to be a derogatory term and encouraged girls to reclaim the term in a positive way. The campaign was a sustained effort and has seen the release of a second advertisement released last month which looks at how emojis stereotype. In the ad, one girl points out: “there are no girls in the profession emojis- unless you count being a bride a profession.” The brand has begun expanding their campaign to include a seminar entitled, #LIKEAGIRL Confidence Summit. They have also worked with schools and teachers to bring the training to schools and they partnered with TED to do a series of educational videos on the subject.
Always is not the first to champion this kind of marketing. We previously wrote about Dove’s Real Beauty campaign which showed how women often view themselves as being a less beautiful version of who they are. Dove sought to help women see themselves as the true beauty they are, and the results were tremendous. Their first advertisement that tackled this problem came to be one of the most watched advertisements in history. Muckersie goes on to mention in her article that other brands that have done the same, “For International Women’s Day, Fairy dropped the ‘y’ and temporarily rebranded as ‘Fair’ to start a conversation about the fair division of housework between men and women. Ariel launched its ‘Share the Load’ campaign to do the same and this month Ben and Jerry’s launched ‘Don’t Get Frozen Out’, a campaign designed to ensure young Londoners register to vote ahead of the Mayoralty election.” This idea of championing a cause when done right can lead to an organic reach not seen in traditional marketing campaigns. This organic reach can include the ad going viral and causing individuals to discuss the topic with friends and family.
Campaigns such as Dove, “Like a Girl,” “Don’t Get Frozen Out,” are all based on insights that have deep emotional responses within the target audience. Muckersie states, “Always recognized that girls’ confidence plummets during puberty, Fairy identified that on average women in the UK still spend 117 more minutes a day on housework than men. Ben and Jerry’s noticed that only 1 in 5 eligible Londoners are actually registered to vote.” By tapping into these insights brands has resulted in much needed attention on challenges that people face and to start making a positive difference regardless of the motive behind it. The benefit for companies is that they receive high impact, high reach campaigns with the core target audience, states Muckersie. She goes on to say that high impact is achieved because a consumer is more likely to identify with a brand that champions their cause than a company that is just simply trying to sell a product. The campaign receives high reach as individuals share and talk about the advertisement and events that center around this cause.
Creating a Dialogue
But how does a company begin to find common struggles that is shared by their customer base? A campaign like this has to be done through direct dialogue with a company’s customers. They need to find out what struggles their customers share in common, as well as whether picking up that challenge will be seen as something the customer will herald and champion as a good cause to get behind. A qualitative online research community provides a company the ability to hear from their customers concerning the cares and challenges that they face, as well as provide a place to test marketing campaigns and concepts with a sample group before investing large amounts of time and energy.
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